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The Freelance Writer’s Foolproof 15-Step Technology Guide

Carol Tice

The amount of technology freelance writers need to know about in order to earn from their craft has just exploded in recent years, hasn’t it? I can remember when knowing how to turn my computer on, use Microsoft Word and a fax machine pretty much covered me.

Now, the list of tech stuff I need to know in order to earn well as a freelancer is a long one and seems to grow with each new gig: Campfire, Google Chrome, WordPress, Box.net, Movable Type, Blogger, Picnik, and on and on.

Regular readers will recall that I am not a lover of technology, nor naturally good at it.

In fact, I find it incredibly frustrating and it often makes me cry like a baby.

But over the years of being compelled to learn all this sparkly new technology, I’ve developed a system that makes it easier for me.

Here it is below. Proceed through each step until you reach one that gets the technology working:

  1. Try downloading the thing. Try a few more ways, on different browsers.
  2. Update all your existing software in hopes that will somehow make the magic happen.
  3. When you have it downloaded, try installing the thing. Try a few more times until you think you’ve got it.
  4. Once you finally figure out how to download the thing and install it, try to use it.
  5. When you can’t understand how to use it to do what you want, you have your choice of: rip hair, cry, curse, lie on floor and suck thumb, play Bejeweled and forget about it, or go for a walk and try again later.
  6. After recovering your composure, do Google searches to find what other people who couldn’t make the thing work have said about how to fix it. Try their ideas.
  7. Read every page of the online help manual. Weep softly as you realize much of it is like Sanskrit to you.
  8. Read the forums and wikis about the thing. Continue weeping.
  9. Tinker randomly in hopes of making it all just suddenly decide to freakin’ work.
  10. Submit a series of email help ‘tickets’ and pray the Ukrainian or Irish or Indian support techs will take pity on you and help you.
  11. Ask on writer and blogger chat forums if anyone has successfully used the thing and could help you.
  12. Take a class at your community college or through Biznik or a Chamber colleague you met in how to use the thing.
  13. Experience all five stages of grief defined by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: Denial that you will not be able to get the thing to work. Anger that you cannot get the thing to work. Bargaining with your deity to be granted special tech powers that will enable you to make tech things work easily. Depression that you are not the sort of person who rocks at tech stuff. Finally, acceptance that you suck at technology.
  14. Beg your teen to teach you how to do it, or your neighbor’s teen. Realize that although he knows all about it, he is too lazy to help you.
  15. Hire a professional to install the thing and teach you how to use it.

How do you cope with new technology? Leave a comment and let me know if there’s one of these steps you usually end up at, or if you have your own system. Coming up next week, I’ll tell you my favorite tech tools for making my freelance-writing business, and my blogging life, run smoothly.